After a dominating performance by the Women in blue in the opening encounter of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 against the New Zealand women, it was time for yet another cracker of a contest between the Aussies and Pakistan women at Guyana. Winning the toss, the Aussies opted to bat first looking at the good turf to bat on after the previous game between India and New Zealand. The track was the one you can put up a great total on, with webs spinning by the spinners.
Opening the batting for the Women in Yellow were Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney. And initiating the bowling for the women in green was Anam Amin with her orthodox left arm spin. The first maximum came from the blade of Alyssa Healy in the very first over for the Aussies. From the other end, came Sana Mir the most experienced and crucial part of Pakistan women. It was all a play of spin as Nida Dar joined the party in the third over for the women in green. But there was no stopping the Aussies especially Healy as they kept scoring at 11.00 RPO.
A few blunders on the field by the women in green kept pressure off the Aussies. The end of the first power-play and it was clearly dominated by Australia with a 50 run opening stand between Healy and Mooney. The power play ended with 58 without loss. After a not so impressive spin attack, the pace was introduced in the 8th over in form of Aliya Riaz. Also bringing the much needed break through for Pakistan, Riaz struck sending Healy back after a fantastic 48 off 29 deliveries and the catch being taken on long-on by Nahida. Bringing the skipper Meg Lanning on to the turf. Half way through the game the Aussies were 80 for one wicket scoring at 8 RPO. The Australian innings paced down a little after the dismissal of Healy, however the 100 run mark came up in the 14th over. Just when the things began to pace up again, some left arm orthodox magic from Nashra Sandhu spun the web sending Mooney back to the pavilion after a crucial yet entertaining knock of 48 off 39 balls, caught by Omaima Sohail at long-on. The 15th over and in came Ashleigh Gardner, right hand bat. Lanning missed it completely trying to sweep and Pakistan opts for a review after the on field decision of not out from the on field umpire for the lbw. Pitched- outside off, impact- outside off and wickets missing. Review Lost!
The 18th over and Nashra sends back Gardner for 13 off 10 deliveries caught by Nida Dar at deep mid-wicket. In walked Elyse Villani. The last over of the first innings and Aliya struck on the very first delivery bowling out the skipper, Lanning after a crucial knock of 41 off 34. Another wicket in form of Villani falls for the Southern Stars, it’s a Run Out!
The Southern Stars finished with 165 on the board after a great opening stand and a crucial partnership between Mooney and Lanning also. A few blemishes on the field for Pakistan but in the end their strength prevails as their spin attack paced down the Australian innings in the middle overs. A couple of wickets each for Nashra and Aliya. Pakistan women needed 166 from 20 overs at 8.3 RPO. The pitch was on the slower side and 165 seemed like a par score.
The chase began with Ayesha Zafar and Nahida Khan opening for Pakistan and Megan Schutt, right arm-fast-medium opening the attack for the Aussies. The last ball of the first over and Schutt Shoots! Ayesha Zafar was sent back to the pavilion for 2 off 6 deliveries. Pakistan was 2-1 after the first over. Omaima Sohail, Right hand bat walked in at number 3. A combination of pace and spin as Molineux bowled from the other end. There was no settling for the women in green as the Aussies kept varying the bowlers, the third over and Perry with the ball. An expensive over from Perry and a bit of pressure release for Pakistan. 4.5 overs and Pakistan lost their second wicket in form of Omaima Sohail, display of a brilliant piece of fielding from Kimmince and bails off my Healy. Run Out!
Kimmince was on a roll on the field and with ball! Nahida was caught and bowled by Kimmince in her very first over. Nahida was sent back after 9 off 15 balls. In came the Skipper, Javeria Khan right handed bat. At the end of the first power play Pakistan was 33-3. Some brilliant efforts on the field by the Aussies and great bowling changes had worked out. Now, 133 off 84 were required. Javeria Khan and Bismah Maroof were expected to build a good partnership to recover from the regular dismissals. The women in green were striking at 6 RPO and the required rate climbed to 9.83 RPO. The 50 run mark came up for Pakistan in the 9th over with a single off Kimmince’s bowling. But the singles would not have done the job; a huge over with some boundaries was what was needed. Half way through the chase and some absolutely disciplined fielding and bowling allowed Pakistan 64-3 on the board. 102 were required off the last 10 overs. Just when Pakistan needed that partnership to build, Molineux sent back the skipper, Javeria Khan caught by the keeper, Alyssa Healy. Khan back after 9 off 14. Nida Dar joined Maroof on the crease.
12.2 overs and the 5th wicket was down for Pakistan in form of Nida Dar, a stunning stumping from Healy bowled by Wareham. There was absolutely no settling down for Pakistan as partnerships were not being established; a part of credit certainly goes to the discipline displayed by the bowlers and the tight fielding that kept building pressure on the batting side. In the same over, Wareham struck again and Aliya Riaz was sent back again caught by the keeper. Some deep trouble for Pakistan with 74-6 after 13 overs. The required run rate kept increasing only to see the collapse as one more wicket went down in form of Bismah Maroof caught by Wareham off Gardner. Pakistan needed 80 off the last 5 overs at 16.00 RPO with 3 wickets in hand. The pitch report was ever so accurate. The pitch did get slower and batting difficult. Winning the toss was the key here and opting to bat first proving to be the correct decision by Lanning. Finding the gaps and running between the wickets could have been the key here while the batters settled. It all came down to 55 off the last over, with Schutt bowling the 20th. The 8th wicket fell for 113 in 19.3 overs, Nashra Sandhu stumped by Healy off Schutt.
Falling short by 52 runs, Pakistan finished with 113-8 on board. A poor display of batting, a tricky pitch, some real brilliance on the field by the Aussies and absolutely disciplined bowling display by the Aussie bowlers with two wickets each for Schutt and Wareham and one wicket each for Molineux, Kimmince and Gardner. In the end it was a one sided affair. The player of the match was Alyssa Healy for a fabulous knock of 48 and two stumpings and two catches. Also, the show stealer was again the brilliance on the field and the great bowling changes and well analyzed bowling from the Southern Stars with no bowler exceeding the economy rate of 6. Though it is too early to pen the anatomy, Aussies have certainly announced their World Cup Campaign in style and as for Pakistan; this is the time to improvise as things would then get better as the tournament proceeds. Australia take on Ireland at the same venue on 11th November at 1:30 am IST and Pakistan clash with arch rivals- India on 11th November at 8:30 pm IST again at the same venue.
The 22 Yard stretch that molded me, is what I hold sacred. A cricketer weaving life’s innings into words. A Rohit Sharma Admirer always. I believe writing and cricket aren’t passions, but ways of life, so truly living the dream! 😉